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Buddhadharma : Summer 2012
SUMMER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 83 in the West. One is tempted to think of another sutra for the twenty-first cen- tury, such as: “The sangha is a source of aggravation; it is a complete source of great aggravation.” However, I’ve begun to see my irritation as just the other side of the coin of appreciating the sangha as a whole. The enlightened qualities of the sangha mentioned in this sutra might be seen not as a contrast to the modern sangha or criticism of it but as an aspiration. In that light, “entering completely” can relate to dedication, not giving up on the practice or the community, whatever its ups and downs. Perhaps we are rarely “insightful, straightforward, and harmo- nious,” but we aspire to these qualities. The sangha may not always be harmo- nious but we are dedicated to finding harmony. Because the sangha practices and studies the dharma, it is worthy of veneration. Because the sangha is not just worthwhile but essential to the sur- vival of the buddhadharma, it is worthy of receiving prostration. Being a field of glorious merit acknowledges the power and the duty that the sangha has to keep the dharma alive. At the same time, we shouldn’t take our virtue for granted. This is the basis of being completely capable of receiving all gifts, which is in fact a responsibility, not a right. The sangha should behave in such a way that it is worthy of being supported, by dem- onstrating sanity, generosity, and all the virtues of a bodhisattva. Then we will be an object of generosity, a great object of complete generosity. As Buddhist practitioners, we all have the burden of protecting and shep- herding the three jewels. We are one of them. And without our efforts and those of future generations, these jewels could be tarnished and lost. I think there is not a single practitioner who does not feel tremendous gratitude for having encountered the dharma in this life. We all have a sense of the great debt that we owe to the Buddha, both the historical Buddha and our personal teachers, and to the dharma and our fellow practitio- ners. In that spirit, let us venerate the three jewels. PACIFIC ZEN INSTITUTE UPCOMING EVENTS PACIFICZEN.ORG Golden Summer Retreat John Tarrant & David Weinstein 6/23 to 6/30 (2012) Santa Rosa, CA Standing At The Blue Cliff John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland 9/13 to 9/16 (2012) SF Bay Area, CA Autumn Light Retreat John Tarrant 9/21 to 9/23 (2012) London, Ontario, Canada Open Mind: A Retreat By The Sea John Tarrant 11/1 to 11/4 (2012) Bolinas, CA Bare Bones Winter Retreat John Tarrant 1/5 to 1/12 (2013) Santa Rosa, CA